Fishing, like the weather, has been on fire with tarpon, snook, reds, and sharks everywhere. West winds and moon phases this past week have made it a little tougher for some, but overall we have had a great fishing this spring and early summer.
This year, red fishing got off to a slower than normal start, but has picked up and this fall should be a banner redfishing year. Also, this is a great time to catch your once-in-a-lifetime trophy tarpon and snook. Many captains and clients have broken their own personal-best records this year on both species with some real brutes being boated.
Beach, pass, and river snook fishing is in overdrive right now with many reports of 20- to 30-pound plus fish being caught.
Capt. George Tunison
Try live bait, dead bait, lures, flies, and even slow trolling live baits and big plugs to catch these trophy fish. If you are a newcomer to this area's saltwater fishing, but are eager to learn, by all means hire a competent, licensed, captain. A good guide is also a teacher and happily will share tips, techniques and locations that would take you many years to master or find on your own.
The rookie saltwater fisherman sometimes is frustrated by our large fishing grounds because "it all looks so fishy," but like any body of water the fish inhabit certain areas and shun others. Seasonal changes further add to the confusion and in many cases the fish you finally found will be miles from that location as the season changes, leaving you scratching your head and telling your buddies "fishing stinks" while experienced sportsmen are loading the boat.
If the cost of a good captain is too high in these terrible financial times, get together with a couple of other friends and split the costs. Most local captains can accommodate three to four people on their boats. Spending a hundred bucks or so to learn a lifetime's worth of fishing knowledge, is a real bargain.
Please remember to carefully and properly handle and release your trophy fish. A 30-pound snook is a treasure as well as a spawning factory. These giant females are the future of fishing and deserve careful handling.
Capt. Greg Hood reports a very hot beach snook bite. He suggests getting out early to beat the heat and using live pilchards on 2/0 hooks, 30-pound fluorocarbon leaders, and 20-pound braided line.
Anchor near some type of structure and chum the area with bait. Have patience and sit tight for awhile and the fish will show up. Many captains have reported many 100-snook, half-day, trips. Remember snook are catch and release only.
Capt. Roy Bennett of Hot One II Charters reports several highly successful tarpon and snook trips this past week. On one trip after taking a tarpon in the Gulf on a catfish tail and jumping another on a live blue runner, they pulled anchor and ended up at the crowed Sanibel Rocks, where clients caught 25 snook, with three up to 30 inches. They also were able to get limits on nice-sized spotted seatrout on two back-to-back trips.
Short gag grouper, jacks, mangrove snappers, and small blacktip sharks also were landed. Another half-day charter jumped two tarpon while bringing one 125-pound fish to the boat on a catfish tail in the river. Nice, but very hot weather and terrific sunrises, contributed to beautiful days on the water.
Capt. K.C. McKinney of Reel Action Adventures reports good fishing and tells me to hit Charlotte Harbor for tarpon and the beaches for snook. Use whitebait for tarpon in the harbor. West winds have made beach snooking a little tougher.
If looking to repower this year he suggests an Evinrude. Over 1100 hours on his new E-Tec with zero issues so far.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.